Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Siege – Severin Films (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: Canada, 1983
Directors: Paul Donovan, Maura O'Connell
Writer: Paul Donovan
Cast: Tom Nardini, Brenda Bazinet, Daryl Haney, Terry-David Després, Jack Blum, Keith Knight, Doug Lennox, Jeff Pustil, Fred Wadden, Gary Dempster, Dennis O'Connor

Release Date: July 20th, 2021
Approximate Running Times: 83 Minutes 52 Seconds (Theatrical Cut), 93 Minutes (Extended Cut)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC (Both Versions)
Rating: R
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English (Both Versions)
Subtitles: English SDH (Both Versions)
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $34.95

"When a local group of right-wing vigilantes massacres the patrons of a gay bar, the sole survivor seeks refuge in a nearby apartment building whose residents must now defend themselves in a night of hate, terror and bloodshed." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4.25/5 (Both Versions)

Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer, "scanned in 2K from the original negative recently discovered in a Nova Scotia archive."

Siege comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 45.7 GB

Feature: 20.9 GB (Theatrical Cut), 23 GB (Extended Cut)

Though both versions have some very minor print debris during the opening credits/moments of the film. The bulk of both transfers are in excellent shape. Colors are nicely saturated, image clarity and black levels look strong throughout. Also, the image retains an organic look and compression looks very good.

Audio: 4/5 (Both Versions)

Each version comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in English and both versions come with removable English SDH subtitles. There are no issues with distortion or background hiss, dialog comes through clearly, everything sounds balanced and ambient sounds are well-represented.


Extras for this release include reversible cover art, a slipcover, a trailer for Siege (1 minute 8 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), an audio commentary with co-director Paul Donovan & Filmmaker Jason Eisener and an extended cut of Siege (93 minutes,  1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC, DTS-HD mono English with removable English SDH subtitles).


There are films who’s end game you can see a mile away. And then there are films like Siege that exceed expectations. That said, though Siege quickly establishes where it wants to go, along the way there are an ample amount of surprises that keep the journey from ever feeling predictable.

The narrative revolves around a gang of hooligans homophobes who use a police strike as a way to intimidate patrons at a gay bar. From there things take a dark turn, when one of the hooligans accidentally kills someone. It’s this event that sets the rest of the plot in motion. With one of the patrons escaping death at the hands of the hooligans ringleader. And though he temporarily finds refuge in an apartment. This leads to the gang of hooligans setting siege to the apartment and everyone inside.

Before I go any further it should-be noted that this release comes with two versions of Siege. The theatrical cut opens with news footage and other information about an impending police strike. This footage is not present in the extended versions which opens with about ten minutes of character backstory that’s not present in the theatrical cut. Though I usually am for more backstory, ultimately the way the theatrical cut dive quickly into the story is a much stronger opening. And for the remainder of this review I will focus on the theatrical cut.

From its opening moments Siege is an intense experience that job building tension to its boiling point. With the scene at a gay bar perfectly sets the tone for the events that follow. It's in this scene that Siege firmly sets in stone how depraved the hooligans are. And though their bigotry of gays is what gets them into trouble. Ultimately it’s their lust for bloodshed and disregard that proves to be their undoing.

From a production standpoint, there’s not an area where Siege comes up short. The premise is well-executed and once the siege happens there’s rarely a moment to catch your breath. Other strengths include inventive kill sequences that are sufficiently and performance wise the cast far exceed expectations. Overall Siege is a solid thriller that fans of 1980’s exploitation cinema should thoroughly enjoy.

Severin Films gives Siege a solid release that comes with two versions of the film and an insightful audio commentary track, highly recommended.

Theatrical Cut screenshots.

Extended Cut screenshots.

Written by Michael Den Boer

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